Rural Internet Services Explained
At NETSPECTRUM, we understand the appeal of living in rural Northern Ontario. The beautiful tranquility of being outside the city limits is priceless. To come home after a long day of work and relax to the sound of the wind rustling through the trees, fire crackling at your feet and the loons calling to each other on the lake…bliss.
While living in a rural location is bliss, it also has its challenges. Not knowing when your road will be plowed/graded, keeping your water system in good condition, septic woes…and of course, trying to get an internet connection that works and doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg in data overages.
There are three main types of services available: satellite wireless, mobile wireless and fixed wireless (this is what NETSPECTRUM provides). The following is a breakdown of each.
Satellite internet service is similar to satellite TV service. You mount a dish on your home that communicates with a satellite (approximate 32,000kms away) back to a dish at your service provider’s NOC (Network Operations Centre) where the main internet connection is then managed.
Because of the long distances for your signal to travel, satellite internet is known to have issues with latency (the time it takes for data to travel), thus not ideal for things like online gaming and video calls or VOIP services. Due to the far path the signal has to travel, weather may also impact your speeds and/or ability to connect.
Some helpful pros and cons of satellite internet can be found here.
Mobile (Cellular) Wireless
This is the internet service offered by cellular companies . You purchase a portable modem or USB wireless modem which connects to the closest cell tower for the provider you’re with.
This can be a popular choice for people in rural areas due to the availability of cell tower infrastructure and ability to use the mobile modem at other locations.
The main downside to using cellular for you main internet connection is the cost. Often you pay a base rate for the service, then pay additional based on how much bandwidth you use in the month. It is paramount to track your data usage to ensure you are won’t get hit with a costly bill at the end of the month. Binge watching Netflix is not an option.
Here’s an article of some other pros and cons of cellular internet service.
Fixed (Terrestrial) Wireless
This is the service NETSPECTRUMprovides. This type of wireless service requires a “radio” which is mounted on a high point on your property (on top of your house, garage, or we may put up a pole).
The radio is pointed to the tower with the best Line of Sight. There can be some obstacles in the way and the signal will still get through, but for the strongest connection, no large obstacles can be in the way (lots of trees, hills, other houses). We do offer a residential tower program where a customer can purchase a small tower to gain the necessary height for a quality service connection; overcoming the trees, hill and other obstacles.
From the tower your house radio communicates with, the signal goes to either another tower or a fibre link back to the Network Operation Centre. Traffic is then forwarded to and from the Internet as required.
The biggest pro to fixed wireless – no data caps and lower latency! Speed availability is still limited in some areas, but we’ll be honest and upfront with you about what you can expect. We work with you to come to a solution – novel idea, huh?
If you’ve been pulling your hair out because of latency and high costs, check our packages, and give us a call or submit a sales ticket for one of our reps to see if your location is serviceable by our wireless options! We currently have over 140 towers in Northern Ontario!
If we don’t currently have coverage in your area, we may have DSL coverage or be able to build out something just for you (and your neighbours). If there’s enough interest in an area, we could be convinced to build a tower site. Reach out and we’ll work with you.
Already a customer and have feedback? We’re always happy to hear from you. Give our dedicated service team a call at 1-800-461-6379 .
NOTE: NETSPECTRUM wireless is for rural locations. If you live in a Northern Ontario town or city, we may also have cable or DSL services available and we’re constantly expanding.